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Everywhere you go, you hear about the importance of good password policies in the workplace, and how important it is to properly protect your personal information and accounts with strong, difficult to guess passwords. Sometimes it may even feel as though you are expected to be Rain Man, remembering long sequences of numbers, letters, and characters that you are told are necessary to keep intruders at bay, but despite the endless warnings, just how many people are listening? Is the general public really taking the issue of cybersecurity seriously enough?

password

The answer: not nearly enough. Commonly used passwords and poor password practices are still incredibly common, but recently, we have seen some blips on the radar signifying that the world might be catching on, and starting to look more closely at password habits.

Recently, a password-management application provider released the fifth edition of their annual “Worst Passwords List”. This list highlights the poor password habits of internet users, and if any of your passwords are listed below, even in some variation, then you need to change your password now!

As unbelievable as it may seem, the weakest and most commonly used passwords are “123456” and the ever-popular “password”. Regardless of the endless warnings and very public calls for action, people still insist on using these dangerous options, leaving one to wonder if they simply don’t care about their security online, or somehow have managed to avoid all of the attempted education thus far.

Take a look at this list of common yet risky passwords. And by all means, if you see any of yours on there, stop what you’re doing and change them now!

  1. The champion since 2014 – 123456
  2. Password
  3. 12345678
  4. Qwerty
  5. 12345
  6. 123456789
  7. Football
  8. 1234
  9. 1234567
  10. Baseball
  11. Welcome
  12. 134567890
  13. Abc123
  14. 111111
  15. 1qaz2wsx
  16. Dragon
  17. Master
  18. Monkey
  19. Letmein
  20. Login
  21. Princess
  22. Qwertyuiop
  23. Solo
  24. Passw0rd
  25. Starwars

The list is compiled using over 2 million leaked passwords over the last year, and the information shows us some interesting trends. Let’s take a closer look at these trends to shed even more insight into the issue of passwords:

  • Longer Passwords – it appears as though internet users are making their passwords longer than before, which could be a result of site requirements, trying to lead their users into selecting safer passwords. However, thanks to the weak selections of users, these longer passwords have been rendered just as useless as shorter ones, thanks to predictable patterning.
  • Sports Fans Are Bad Password Creators – it seems as though sports fans are amongst the ranks of those choosing the weakest passwords. Football and baseball have been on the offender’s list for many years, however, given the fact they are trading places in the rankings shines a light on an unrelated trend, that football is rising as America’s favorite pastime.
  • Passwords from a Galaxy Far Away – the references to Star Wars, and the popular movie series was clear in the past year, with several nods on the poor password list. Solo (for Hans Solo), princess (Leia), starwars, and other passwords like these suggest that science fiction is always on the mind for these fans.

Tips for More Secure Passwords

When creating passwords, it can be tricky to find that perfect balance between safe and secure, without making it too difficult to remember so you aren’t forever locking yourself out of your accounts. Take a look at these handy tips for making stronger passwords:

  • Passwords should be a minimum of 12 characters in length and contain a mixture of letters, numbers, and characters.
  • Refrain from using the same password on multiple sites. Switch it up, even if just slightly.
  • Use a password management. This is an effective tool for storing, organizing, and protecting passwords.

It is important to remember a password is the only thing standing between attackers and your personal information. Passwords is one area where a little extra care goes a very long way.

Are your password policies up to date? Contact Fuelled Networks at (613) 828--1280 or info@fuellednetworks.com to make sure all of your bases are covered when it comes to cybersecurity. We provide managed IT services that keep all of your information technology functioning at peak performance.

Published On: 8th February 2016 by Ernie Sherman.

IT Consultants Ottawa